Monday, July 26, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Candyman 2

A new name arose in the horror market circa 1992: Candyman.  It's not as cute as it sounds, actually being the tale of a large, black man with a hook for a hand.  The guy also has a penchant for bees not seen since the last County Fair in Georgia!  The gory film tells the tale of a young woman haunted by an urban legend that just dares to be proven true.  The movie starred Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd, who finally broke out in the way he'd always dreamed of.  Naturally, a sequel was bound to follow a few years later.  As far as being a sequel goes, the film does feature the same villain, but no other returning cast members.  Mind you, it is a slasher film sequel, so they could have just killed all of the other characters!  In another change, the movie takes place in New Orleans around the time of Mardi Gras, as opposed to the urban Chicago setting of the original.  As we'll learn, this killer moves to any place where the holiday will best fit.  I think versatility is a virtue lacking in most killers, don't you?  Will this live up to the original or prove to be another inferior horror sequel?  Get out your creepy masks for my review of...

The film begins with a pompous man telling the tale of The Candyman.  Johnny Exposition has silly, hand-drawn pictures to accompany the tale.  That kind of takes the drama out of it, don't you think?  Anyhow, a black guy fell in love with a white girl in the Antebellum South, got his hand cut off and was killed by bees.  When asked about whether the legend is real or not, he says 'Candyman' into the conveniently-reflective cover of his own book and nothing happens.  Of course, we are treated to a fake-out scare that turns out to be a publicity stunt.  Get used to that sight tomorrow.  One of the men in the audience does not like his joke and threatens him later, since apparently he has some sort of family connection to the issue.  In a bar that night, the pompous author goes into the bathroom, only to be confronted by and killed by The Candyman!  By the way, avoid close-ups of the prosthetic hook hand- it looks fake!  The man from earlier is blamed and we get a chance to meet his sister and mother at the police precinct.  We learn that they are all part of a family that was descended from The Candyman's lover back in the day.  They talk about how they feel like they're cursed, which may prove to be true, since the cops are trying to peg the brother as a serial killer.

The gore quotient is pretty low so far, but it's only so that they can focus on character work.  The sister is married to a New Orleans bar owner, who is played by one of those character actors you always go 'I know him from...something' when you see him.  Everyone in the area is obsessed with the partying related to Mardi Gras, which sets up a nice bit of distraction.  Our heroine visits the old family house and tries to engulf herself in her teaching work, but horror strikes home as The Candyman kills her husband.  This doesn't help the brother's murder charges, of course, since they now suspect her of being a killer too.  It must be genetic!  This tragedy leads her to looking more into the legend of The Candyman.  There's a killer on the loose, but let's make time to talk to Dennis Leary's black friend!  She finds out the real truth about her brother.  You see, he was very quick to admit guilt in the man's death, despite the fact that he wasn't guilty.  The truth is this: he was trying to hide The Candyman from the sister.  Much like the woman from Boogeyman 3, it just doesn't work!  Oh well- you win some, you lose some.

As Mardi Gras approaches, our heroine gets closer and closer to the truth, even as The Candyman lurks in the shadows.  The brother is 'saved' by The Candyman arriving in the interrogation room and killing the cop that is hitting him, but the brother dies when he tries to flee from the station.  Our heroine tries to talk to someone who can help her...which just ends in him being killed by bees.  Bees, my God.  The police pursue our heroine through a crowd on account of everyone around the siblings ending up dead.  She confronts her mother about The Candyman, who finally reveals the full, God's honest truth to her.  Our heroine goes to the old estate and tries to destroy The Candyman's source of power: the mirror that contains his soul.  It's amazing how 100+ year old mirrors hold up, isn't it?  She gets to it, but has company.  He allows her to see the full experience of his torture, death and rebirth.  By the way, The Candyman name comes from one kid calling him that- lame!  As the place fills with water, she tries to escape the estate..only to be cornered again.  When she breaks the mirror, however, the killer dies.  In the epilogue, our heroine's young child nearly invokes the killer's name, which she stops.  The End.

This actually pretty decent.  The plot is simple enough, even if it meanders a bit at times.  The acting is actually pretty decent, with many of the actors feeling 'real.'  For films of this kind, it's a pretty rare thing.  The kills in the film are good too, although the movie does use the same 'Candyman stabs people in the back' death over and over again.  It's not a bad way to do it, but it reeks of trying to save money by not showing the 'entry wound.'  As a whole, it's a decent film...but I do have some problems with it.  Honestly, I just did not really buy all that much into the whole 'Candyman' origin tale.  It feels a bit silly, especially when you consider the old-timey flashback scene.  I get the 'cutting off the hand' thing, but why the honey?  Especially, when you consider that they act surprised that the bees show up!  Were you just doing that for fun and got surprised by the insects' arrival?  Plus, you could make the killer's name reveal be a bit less hokey and forced.  I'm nit-picking here though.  The movie makes up for this oversight with some good atmosphere, suspense and acting.  It is better than a horror sequel of this type has any right to be.  Can they repeat it one last time though?

Next up, the Candyman trilogy concludes with an ill-conceived, direct-to-video film starring a chick from Baywatch.  Continuity and time be damned!  Stay tuned...


  1. The Candyman sequels aren't half-bad. Same applies to Critters and a few of the Leprechaun films.

  2. I was waiting for the inevitable "This movie really sucks" but man was I glad to see that you liked it, this is one of my favorite series sequels, I have always loved it and it even played well on network TV in the 90s.